Dexta Daps’ lawyer worried for those locked up under SOE - Said entertainer is happy to be out after detention
Peter Champagnie, the lawyer representing dancehall artiste Dexta Daps, says his heart goes out to young men being detained under the state of public emergency (SOE) who cannot access adequate legal representation. Champagnie's cry comes on the heels of his client's release from police custody after almost a month in lock-up. Daps was freed yesterday, without charge, a day before his case was set to be heard before a tribunal.
"On the eve of the hearing of his case at the tribunal, he (Dexta Daps) was released. There are no charges, no pending charges. He's free, and myself and Mr Kemar Robinson, who appeared for him, are grateful," Champagnie said. "I think that what has been happening in some instances is that persons are detained under the state of emergency and they languish there without any objection being filed before a tribunal ,and it is a sad state of affairs, because what of the case where persons other than a Louis Grandison (Daps' given name) are not able to retain counsel? How do we treat that?"
Bigger issue remains
"While it is good news for our client that he has been released, the bigger issue remains that there are many persons across the island that have basically resigned themselves, in the absence of representation, to spending their 90 days in lock-up. It cannot be right," he continued.
The experienced lawyer had been fighting for his client's freedom since April 8, when he was arrested in what police said was a gang-related probe. Champagnie said that there are many persons currently in the system who have been locked away for extended periods with no charges being filed against them.
"In my visits to the police station, there are many other young men detained under similar circumstances that do not have the luxury of proper representation and I really feel for them. The information on how you go about an appeal, (and) bringing your case to a tribunal, is not readily available and so they just spend their time there, no charges against them but locked away," he said.
Champagnie said that his client, though exhausted, is happy to be out.
"As you would expect, he's totally stressed and exhausted, but at the same time happy that he's out. No court appearances necessary, he has been freed," he said.